FC Tucson announces new soccer stadium
Plans include 2,000-seat stadium, new soccer field
FC Tucson and Pima County announced plans Wednesday for a 2,000-seat stadium to be built by 2014 on the site of Field #1 at Kino Sports Complex North. In addition to the new stadium, which will become the new home for the professional soccer team, the county also plans to add a sixth field at the site.
The stadium will feature a new scoreboard and a homestand for 2,000 spectators, which will include an overhang to shade crowds from the sun and project sound toward the field. Other plans include a new main entrance for Kino Sports Complex North in addition to new concessions and restroom facilities. There are also plans to add a sixth soccer field to the complex on the ground’s south end.
The project is expected to finish in time for FC Tucson’s 2014 season, officials said.
'The right investments'
The county has already converted fields in the area for soccer, improving the field used by FC Tucson last year and adding new bleachers in the last couple of weeks.
“What’s already been done in the conversion, what will be done with the stadium with the new facilities will cost in total $2.8 million,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry. “It’s just a matter of making the right investments.”
“It’s a smart investment in professional sports. It’s a nice amenity for Tucson and Pima County,” said Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías. “But it’s also a nice investment for our kids, their future and their health, and that’s something we can’t ignore.”
FC Tucson managing partner Greg Foster addressed the issue of the use for youth and recreational sports at a press conference with county officials.
"We want to maintain the fields, they are the best in Arizona," said Foster. "However, we are doing everything in our power to make this a community facility and not just a professional facility."
The money for the improvements is coming from a $5 million settlement with the Chicago White Sox, who left along with other Major League Baseball teams, leaving the Kino Sports Complex that was built for them without tenants.
So, is it time yet to stop thinking of Kino as a baseball facility?
“We’ve been at it for a couple of years trying to rebrand the Major League Baseball Spring Training Complex,” Huckleberry said. “That’s why it’s called the Kino Sports Complex. It’s multiple sports, with baseball being one of many among softball, soccer, rugby and football…it’s multi-purpose.”
“It’s been a healthy transition. It’s been a quick one and I’m proud of that,” said Elías of the “rebranding.” “We’ve seen government react to people’s interest in soccer and we’ve seen people respond in a real positive way.”
Sing when you're winning...
Keaton Köch is the president of the Cactus Pricks, a group of FC Tucson supporters. He’s excited to see the plans for a new stadium.
“It’s excellent for FC Tucson,” he said after perusing some of the improvements made to Kino’s Field #5, which will host several scrimmages between Major League Soccer teams for the next few weeks.
“Field 5 is our home field now, but it’s going to be permanent. In concrete,” he said.
A fan-friendly touch will be on the new stadium, a small roof that will keep a bit of shade over the stands. It will also serve another purpose in creating a special game atmosphere.
“It will be perfect for chants. It will be sort of like (Seattle’s) PGE Park (now called Jeld-Wen Field),” Köch said, pointing to a stadium whose architecture keeps the crowd noise in. “It’s critical.”